Ducati is rumoured to be considering making an aggressive bid to secure the services of Valentino Rossi as early as next season, particularly if Casey Stoner proves to be Honda-bound.
According to Spanish publication Motocuatro.com
, Ducati's difficult start to the 2010 season, which has so far seen it fail to get on the podium, is prompting some radical movements from within the company in an attempt to get back on top.
Even so, Rossi, who is expected to be out of action for two months as he begins recovery from his broken leg, has previously stated his intentions to stay with Yamaha and he revealed as recently as yesterday [Thursday] that he does have a bike for next season.
“I know I have a bike for next year and I don't need to rush my return to demonstrate anything.”
Rumours linking Rossi to Ducati are nothing new, with the Italian proving coy when commenting on the speculation towards the end of the 2009 season, stating at the time:
“I haven't decided yet about my future, I will decide in the next year (2010). I have a contract signed already with Yamaha for 2010. For sure it is a great dream for everybody, to see Valentino with Ducati. We will see, I don't know'.
Several months on and Ducati is reportedly stepping up its efforts to get the record-breaking rider onto its bike by waving a 'blank cheque' in a bid to poach him from Yamaha.
The move for Rossi could come as a response to Stoner's heavily speculated switch to Honda in 2011, the Australian seemingly looking elsewhere as an attempt to rediscover the form that has waned in 2010 so far.